Saturday morning's long run of a supposed 70 minutes did not happen when my dinner out with The Other Half on Friday night ended in a double case of food poisoning. I probably would have felt a lot better if my stomach would have just let go of whatever was making it churn but seeing as I can count the number of times I've been pukey sick on one hand I would have had better luck hitting the Powerball than paying homage to the Porcelain Gods. So when Saturday morning rolled around and my alarm clock went off signaling that it was time to hit the trail, I decided to allow my head to hit the pillow again instead.
I was feeling guilty though. I thankfully got a workout in early Thursday morning but Friday it was the furthest thing from my mind as I continued to work through what was easily the second most difficult situation of my professional life. Thankfully it has nothing to do with me personally - not my performance or my abilities and if anything I remain grateful that I am the one who is, at least for the immediate future, the point person as we go about the difficult task of collecting information and examining our processes in the hopes that we can improve. There are times when I know a workout will make me feel better and allow me to leave some of the stress and tension of the day behind me but Thursday, after an almost 14 hour day all I wanted to do was get home, hug my girls and crawl into bed. Friday wasn't much different - my brain was on overload and had long passed the point of critical mass. I desperately wished that I was in a place - both physically and emotionally - to go to the gym but even the thought of swimming was too overwhelming. So as I left work Friday afternoon I promised myself that I'd go on Saturday. That was obviously before my introduction to Food Poisoning 101.
Overcast skies appeared to threaten rain, but with a temperature of 66 degrees there was no way to pass up the opportunity to run miles with The Munchkin. I had some motivational help in the way of the sweet potato fries I had on Friday night and then a beer and a mini peanut butter cup (chocolate shell, peanut butter mousse and whipped cream) this afternoon. I'm good at jokingly justifying almost anything I eat (beer and peanut butter are carbs and protein - and chocolate is just good for the soul overall) but truth be told I know that I like food far too much to NOT exercise. So late this afternoon, with beef stew in the crock-pot all ready to go for dinner, I buzzed home to change in to my running gear, get running shoes on The Munchkin and headed to the trail in the hopes that we could come close to the 70 minute run that was aborted on Saturday.
I made the decision before we left to not bring my iPod with me. I know that The Munchkin has been affected by my returning to work full time (when Friday rolls around she starts saying that she doesn't want to go to daycare and she's said more than once, "I miss you...") so I figured that it'd be good for me to give her uninterrupted, undivided attention. We talked for a little while but it wasn't long before I realized I was doing all the talking and there were no answers coming from the jogger seat below me. I peered through the opening between the canopy and the seat back and could see her, head resting to the side, fast asleep. All of the above was a long way of my getting to this:
Finding my faith.
I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to reconnect with my religion and, more directly, my spiritual roots. I believe in a Power greater than me - whether or not that is a power, singular - or powers, plural - is something I have yet to work out. Anyone who is familiar with my story, however, will know that it's important and time for me to make peace with my faith. Over the last two years I've come to realize that it truly is a gift there are only 24 hours in a day and at the end of each, when the clock strikes midnight, a new day begins. I prayed more than I've ever prayed before - sometimes for sanity, sometimes for wisdom, sometimes for strength - but always for the courage to do what was right at that moment in time.
Over the years I've struggled with what "God" means to me and, for a number of deeply personal reasons, on a deeper level what it means to believe and have faith. I've listened to people talk about finding God, finding their religion or being born again and at the heart of my disdain for overly organized religion is also a deep envy at the unwavering faith that so many of them project. I've tried to remain open to hearing their words and messages though, and it's because of this I was able to hear someone share something that I thought a lot about on my run this afternoon while The Munchkin snoozed. They said, "If everyone had a perfect life, nobody would ever have to have faith. We have to be challenged in order to believe in something greater than ourselves." THIS has resonated with me.
I know I didn't find all the answers in my run this afternoon, but I thought a lot about where I've been and where I am and where I'm going. And through it all, I'm pretty sure I've started to make peace with what it means to have faith.
Oh, and The Munchkin? She woke up about a mile short of where we usually stop so she can get out of the jogger and run. She made it almost a full half mile this afternoon - laughing and giggling the entire way. I took a video of her with my phone and couldn't help but wonder if maybe some day some station will show it before she makes her run for the gold in the Olympics. We made it back to the car and no sooner had I gotten her buckled into her car seat than I felt the first splashes of raindrops on my bare shoulders. How about that for timing? Or maybe it was a little bit of faith :)
It's Sunday evening and for the moment, all is right in my world.